Google is constantly expanding its algorithm to include solid authoritative metrics for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) content. What is YMYL? It’s a fancy new acronym being thrown around by search engine optimization experts nowadays – as if you didn’t have enough SEO acronyms already. This article will discuss exactly what YMYL is, and how to rank YMYL content.
Now, it’s important, first and foremost, to know the answer to this question: What constitutes YMYL content? Let’s analyze the question. Your Money or Your Life content typically pertains to information that, if misrepresented or containing inaccurate data, could negatively impact the reader’s health, safety, financial stability or happiness. In other words, if the reader gets the wrong information, it could have potentially disastrous implications on their life.
Google gives a specific definition of what a YMYL page actually is and how page quality impacts how YMYL content ranks in search:
Around five years ago, in 2015, Google released its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines that contained some fundamental information about how Google determines whether web pages are high quality enough to rank for YMYL content. One of the gold standards they outlined was E-A-T: Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness. Google explicitly stated that E-A-T has a direct impact on-page quality.
According to Google, one of the chief components of ranking YMYL content is the overall page quality (PQ). Pages that demonstrate E-A-T get a high PQ rating and a high PQ rating means a page serves some beneficial features and information for the user. Google makes a special attempt at pairing YMYL content with a high PQ standard.
There are three vital factors for ranking YMYL content. These are:
1. The page quality determines the purpose of that web page and whether or not it conforms to the user’s search query.
2. Page quality also considers whether a webpage has been created to help users. Websites that have been created to harm, deceive or siphon money all get the lowest PQ possible.
3. You also need to take into account the page purposes Google deems “helpful” in establishing a higher PQ rating. These include, among others:
As an SEO, I’ve practiced these standards myself. Here are some practical ways I have established PQ standards in my own work. I built a website for finding a Pool Contractor and got it to rank for YMYL type content by using the following strategies:
Titan Growth does a fantastic job of analyzing and compartmentalizing even more strategies to help you improve your page quality ratings. There are lots of metrics, such as reviews, location citations, correct query interpretations and many other factors that come into play. Understanding the correct interpretation of the query you want your YMYL content to rank for in search is imperative.
YMYL queries are classified into four categories depending on what the user hopes to achieve. These are:
Keeping these queries in mind is important, especially if your YMYL content could have implications impacted by any of those factors. Google places special importance on providing the best local solution for these types of queries.
Additionally, this is where local citations play an integral part in ranking YMYL content. The number of locals who consider your content to be an important resource has a direct correlation on how your YMYL content will rank.
Finally, Google also considers the Needs Met rating guidelines in determining a page’s quality. The Needs Met guidelines are directly influenced by their ability to help mobile users in particular. Websites that best serve the Needs Met rating guidelines will often have better E-A-T, higher PQ and rank better for YMYL content in general. The Needs Met ratings are as follows:
It’s important to note that Google can often not make the distinction as to whether experts are creating content or not. So, another determining factor other than E-A-T that Google often employs in determining page quality is Authority, Relevance, Trust or A-R-T.
The A-R-T standards have been part of Google search for a very long time. Google uses them to establish Trust, Authority and Identity signals as part of its ranking algorithm. Google has relied on them for years but made it clear in a recent white paper that E-A-T is now becoming a linchpin standard as well.
All these fancy acronyms – YMYL, E-A-T, A-R-T… Hey, at the end of the day, it’s all about creating content that Google wants. None of the lexicons are new; this just may be the first time you’ve heard them. But believe me, you’ll be hearing these terms a lot more in the near future.
Ever since 2018’s Google Algorithm update (AKA “the Medic update”), there’s been a huge spotlight on E-A-T, and it’s now been intrinsically tied to ranking and rating YMYL content. I hope this article gave you some helpful insights as to what YMYL is and how to use E-A-T to get your content to show up first in the search results.